Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey
Jan 3 2012

Parisians debate Turkey

Mehmet Ali Birand

The French are mired in a lot of problems. They are contemplating how
they are going to overcome the pending crisis. President Nicolas
Sarkozy’s speech at New Year’s did not suffice either, as everyone has
their sights fixed on the euro.

Nevertheless, if you happen to end up in Paris these days and chance
upon a French person up to date with contemporary developments, and
your Turkish identity is revealed, too, then the first question you
will encounter is going to be on the “Sarkozy Law.” That is how it was
dubbed. Everyone is aware the Armenians are being pandered to for the

I went to Paris on New Year’s for three days. Inevitably, we got
together with French politicians and journalists with whom I have been
acquainted for years. It was a cab driver who asked the most striking
question when he learned we had arrived from Istanbul.

“Were you infuriated by Sarkozy’s law?” he asked.

When I told him it was an entirely needless and foolish law, he
responded, “That is not his only idiocy” and broke into laughter.

It was the “Sarkozy Law” that was being debated in humor shows on the
radio, and some political debate programs on television.

There was one particular session on TV5 that was also attended by Ali
Kazancıgil, and which accurately captured the general mood in the air.
“What purpose does it serve to anger the Turks?” asked one
participant, while another asked “Shall we bow to the Turks?” Just as
in every other discussion, there were those who argued forcefully that
it would not be to their advantage to anger Turkey where the French
have considerable investments, while others said Turkey was in no
shape to harm France in any way.

Kazancıgil graciously indicated that Turkey is no longer the old
Turkey that it used to be, and that France had to take well-measured
steps. Other participants did not quite look as if they understood
much of it, however.

Unfortunately, the most effective weapon used by the French in these
debates against us goes like this: “What freedom of speech are you
talking about? First, take a look at yourselves before criticizing

Truthfully, there is no way to answer that, and it springs up everywhere.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s advice to Sarkozy to inquire of
his father about Algeria has backfired here and did not register with
people. Stressing that Sarkozy’s father had not even been to Algeria,
the media is questioning where Prime Minister Erdoğan came up with
these comments.
What attracted my attention most in these debates is that Erdoğan and
Sarkozy were lumped together in the same basket. Commentators note and
compare them both as ambitious and populist politicians.

On a final note, Turkish circles still continue clinging onto their
hopes. They are guessing this bill will not make its way into the
Senate and stop there. French observers I have spoken to disagree,
however. They claim the voting will take place prior to the elections,
as Sarkozy would be accused by his presidential rival François
Hollande of lying and selling the Armenians off, if he were to fail in
sending the bill to the Senate.

They cannot give up on the genocide

We feel cross with the Armenians. We demand that they give up on
claims of genocide and establish a joint history commission to
investigate whether a genocide really took place or not. And they
refuse. Let alone conduct joint research, they even turn down the
offer to shoot a joint documentary. The reason for this attitude is
crystal clear: Such little time is left for genocide claims to gain
international recognition that they do not want to initiate any steps
that could jeopardize this trend.

Would we have behaved any differently if we had been under the same

Not at all, as we would not have risked such a close opportunity.

They are certain they are marching toward victory. In fact, they are
even assessing the aftermath of an affirmative vote in the U.S.
Congress on the issue.

And what are we doing?

Let us turn our gaze toward ourselves before we pick on the Armenians.

Kurdish revolts in the Soviet archives

Mehmet Perinçek’s book, “Kurdish Revolts in Soviet State Sources,” has
gone to print through the Kaynak Publishing House. Perinçek has
prepared a highly comprehensive and significant piece of work.

The book relates some of the darkest hours of our recent history, such
as the separatism of Barzani during the First World War, the Şeyh Sait
Revolts and the Ağrı Revolt, through the Soviets’ eyes. We already
knew the Soviets, who were quickly growing at the time in question,
were in possession of thick archives regarding the Kurdish problem in
which they took a special interest in relation to their policies of

Now, these sources have been rendered available to all through Perinçek’s book.